Budgeting and managing your money are great skills to learn while you are University. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Work through the Understanding your Budget module in Moodle where you can learn how different scenarios may impact on your budget, and complete interactive quizes.
Try filling in a budget planner...
Cashflow forecaster (excel)
UCAS also offer a useful budget planner
Check your bank accounts regularly to keep on top of your bills and spending. Consider using a budgeting app on your smart phone or tablet - there are plenty to choose from for both Apple and Android. Make sure they are free though, you don't want to pay a monthly/annual fee. It's also advisable to use products authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
BE ABSOLUTELY HONEST when filling in the amounts. There is no point budgeting if you forget to put down money for coffee, subscriptions or haircuts. You may find it helps to keep a spending diary for a week if you are unsure where your money goes.
PRIORITISE where you spend your money. What is essential?
Accommodation will always be the biggest expense. Individual priorities will vary but it is essential to have food, shelter, warmth and light. Make sure you have enough money to pay for basic foodstuffs, rent, gas and electricity.
Buying a £3.50 coffee every weekday could cost you £17.50 a week and over 30 weeks of term that comes to £525! Imagine what you could do with £525... a holiday... deposit for next years house....
BE DISCIPLINED with your spending. Make shopping lists and stick to them; try to cut out 'impulse' buys, those bargains that seem like a good deal at the time, but later on you wonder why you bought the item!
DON'T FEEL PRESSURED into keeping up with your friends who are flashing the cash. Don't be embarrassed to skip a few nights out, takeaways, coffees, etc. to ensure you keep within your budget. You'll be glad you did.
DOWNLOAD a budgeting app or use your banking app. These can help to keep you on top of your spending. Remember to include everything, including coffees and snacks.
REVIEW your budget regularly.
- Is there anything missing?
- Do I want to/need to alter my spending habits?
- Have I got my priorities right?
BE MINDFUL of how your needs may change seasonally, for example you may need to budget for higher utility bills for your winter heating, or for essential clothing items when the weather changes.
...AND ALWAYS STICK TO THE 3 QUESTION MONEY MANTRA!
- Do I need it?
- Can I afford it?
- Can I find it cheaper elsewhere?
There are a large number of websites that offer advice and information about budgeting, so take a look around.